Assault Lawyer in Oakland, CA
Assault is a serious charge with substantial sentencing enhancements, depending on the facts of your case. It’s your Oakland, CA assault attorney’s job to create reasonable doubt and challenge the prosecution’s claims.
Oakland criminal defense attorney Seth Morris at Morris Law can help clear your name and get you back to your life. Schedule your confidential consultation when you call our office at 510-225-9955.
California Assault Laws
Under California Penal Code § 240, assault, also called simple assault, is defined as “an unlawful attempt, coupled with a present ability, to commit a violent injury on the person of another.”
Bear in mind that although many people often use the phrase “assault and battery“ interchangeably, these are two separate crimes. Under California Penal Code § 242, battery refers to the actual physical use of unlawful violence or force, whereas assault does not require the actual physical use of force or violence; the attempt to do so is sufficient for assault charges to apply.
Crimes Associated with Assault in Oakland, CA
Depending on the facts of your case, you could be charged with several different crimes related to assault, including:
- Aggravated assault – Under California Penal Code § 245, this involves assaulting someone with the intent to cause severe bodily harm.
- Assault with a deadly weapon – Under California Penal Code § 245(a)(1), this involves using a deadly weapon, such as a knife or gun, or other use of force to cause serious bodily injury.
- Assault with caustic chemicals – Under California Penal Code § 244, this involves attempting to disfigure or injure someone else by throwing or putting caustic chemicals of any kind on someone else’s body.
- Assault with intent to commit a felony – Under California Penal Code § 220, this involves assaulting someone with the intent to commit a sex crime.
- Threatening – Under California Penal Code § 422, this involves threatening to commit a crime that will cause serious bodily injury or death.
- Disturbing the peace – Under California Penal Code § 415, this involves making unreasonable noise that disturbs others, fighting in public, or using provocative language towards another person in public.
- Assault on a public official – Under California Penal Code § 217.1, this involves committing simple assault against a public official to prevent them from doing their official duties or in retaliation.
- Throwing an object at a motor vehicle – Under California Vehicle Code § 23110, this involves throwing any type of substance or object at a vehicle on a public street.
Elements of Oakland, CA Assault Convictions
To obtain a conviction for assault in Oakland, CA, the state’s prosecutor will need to prove your guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. To do this, specific elements must be met, including:
- You acted in a way that would result in the use of force to another – This does not need to be direct touching, and the use of force does not need to be successful; an attempt will suffice.
- You acted willfully or intentionally – You intended to break the law, get an advantage, or harm someone unnecessarily.
- You knew that the action you took would result in the use of force – Under the circumstances, you knew your actions could lead to the use of force or bodily harm.
- You had the ability to apply force – You were physically capable of applying force in the incident in question.
Penalties for Assault Charges in Oakland, CA
The consequences of a guilty assault verdict could be devastating. Some assault crimes are considered wobbler offenses, meaning they can be charged as a misdemeanor or felony. The facts of your case will ultimately determine your charges.
Here are some of the criminal penalties you could be subjected to if convicted:
- Simple assault – Misdemeanor resulting in up to $1,000 in fines; up to six months in state jail.
- Aggravated assault – Misdemeanors result in up to one year in county jail; fines as high as $1,000. Felonies result in up to four years in prison; fines up to $10,000.
- Assault with a deadly weapon – Misdemeanors result in up to one year in county jail; fines as high as $1,000. Felonies result in up to four years in prison; fines up to $10,000.
- Assault with a firearm – Felony resulting in up to four years in state prison; fines up to $10,000.
- Assault with caustic chemicals – Felony resulting in up to four years in prison; fines of up to $10,000.
- Assault with intent to commit a felony – Felony resulting in up to nine years in state prison.
- Threatening – Misdemeanor resulting in up to one year in County jail; fines as high as $1,000.
- Disturbing the peace – Misdemeanor resulting in up to ninety days in jail; fines as high as $400.
- Assault on a public official – Felony resulting in up to three years in state prison; fines up to $10,000.
- Throwing an object at a motor vehicle – Misdemeanor resulting in up to six months in county jail; fines as high as $1,000.
Assaulting Professional Officials
Your sentence could increase considerably for assaulting the following officials:
- Process servers
- Police or law enforcement officers
- Animal control officers
- Traffic officers
- Code enforcement officers
On top of your sentencing requirements, the fallout of an assault charge can make life more difficult. Some collateral consequences include:
- Issues with citizenship or immigration
- Trouble protecting your child custody rights
- Difficulty finding gainful employment
- Difficulty finding affordable, safe housing
- Disqualification from federal student funding eligibility
- Loss of firearm rights
- Reputational damage
- Suspension or revocation of your professional licenses
How to Challenge the Assault Charges Against You
To avoid a devastating conviction, you may need to present a compelling defense strategy. As a first-time offender, the state’s prosecutor may be willing to work with you to enter into a plea agreement.
Here, you may be able to complete anger management or substance-abuse programs instead of being found guilty of a criminal offense. Once you meet the terms of the program, the charges against you may be dismissed.
However, if you are a habitual offender or the crime in question is particularly violent, you will need to be ready with a strong defense.
Here are common defenses for assault charges in Oakland, CA.
If you were acting in defense of yourself, your property, or others, you might be able to argue self-defense. Here, you will need to prove that you had reasonable belief that you or someone else was in imminent danger of severe bodily injury or death.
Further, you must have had a reasonable belief that the use of force was necessary to defend yourself or others and that you only used the amount of force required to defend.
Lack of Intent
You can only be convicted of an assault charge if you acted willfully or intentionally. If you had no intention of harming the alleged victim in your case, or the actions were accidental, you should not be found guilty of the assault charges against you.
False Assault Accusations
If you have been falsely accused of assault, your lawyer will need to show that the accuser in your case had a motive of some kind. Motives may include revenge, jealousy, anger, or other reasons to make false accusations. Interviewing witnesses, examining communication exchanges, and obtaining other relevant evidence can help prove your case.
Contact an Oakland, CA Assault Attorney
When you are facing assault charges that could have a severe impact on your life, you need to take steps to protect your future. Prepare a powerful defense strategy with an experienced Oakland, CA assault lawyer like Seth Morris.
Attorney Seth Morris will work tirelessly to secure a favorable outcome in your case. When you are ready to schedule your confidential case evaluation, fill out our secured contact form or give our office a call at 510-225-9955.